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View Full Version : Sick Guinea pig fur under chin becoming wet and yellow, happening every day?



Tara Langford
09-03-16, 07:11 pm
Recently, one of my guinea pigs (3 years old) began having the fur under her chin become wet and yellow every day. The first few times it happened, I thought maybe she was being sprayed by one of my other guinea pigs, or perhaps laying in urine somehow... but it's been several days in a row now. I smelled the fur and it's not quite urine that I'm smelling... not sure what it is.

She's eating and drinking normally and is very active. (though she's eating regularly, and always the first one to the pan of greens when I put it in, she looks a bit thinner than usual) But I have noticed one thing - when she goes to squeak for food (she's always the loudest) it's like she can quite hit the pitch and it comes out hoarse sounding.

I did my best to look at her teeth tonight... they look okay... but I'm absolutely not an expert. Did my best to examine the skin around her mouth area - no visible sores or anything that I can see. Skin looks okay.

Calling the vet first thing Tuesday when they reopen after the holiday.

Tried my best to get some pics of it, she wasn't quite happy with my mom and I trying to examine her.

Any ideas as to what's going on?!

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Also, just wanna add, her nails usuallly don't look like that. She get steps in poo every now and then, and I always get her cleaned up. Just hadn't gotten to that yet tonight - was trying to figure out the fur under her chin. Just didn't want anyone to think I let her walk around like that!

bpatters
09-03-16, 07:16 pm
I think it's just food stain. Every white-chinned pig I've ever seen looks like that, some greener than others. As long as the area isn't wet, the hair isn't coming out, and she's not scratching, I wouldn't worry.

Tara Langford
09-03-16, 07:20 pm
That's the thing - the area is definitely wet :\

Tara Langford
09-03-16, 07:21 pm
Unfortunately I really couldn't get a good picture, but it's a very clear and obvious yellow color in real life as well :|

lunarminx
09-03-16, 07:38 pm
Unfortunately I really couldn't get a good picture, but it's a very clear and obvious yellow color in real life as well :|


Watch and see if she is dropping food a lot. It may seem like she is eating but it may be she is trying but dropping a lot of food while trying. At feeding times, try to feed her by herself in a box or laundry hamper/bin of some type, so you can see how much she really is eating. She may be getting a tooth ache or even a ear ache hurts when you eat. I wish her well!

Tara Langford
09-03-16, 07:39 pm
I'll do that tonight and see how shes's eating. Thanks for the suggestion!

And thank you for the well wishes <3

ThePigAlchemist
09-03-16, 08:06 pm
My Fuery had a perpetually wet chin on two occasions. On one of those occasions, I ended up having to treat his chin for fungus when the fur started falling out, and the problem resolved itself after that. On the other occasion, it was a tooth issue and he was drooling. I agree with the others that you should watch how she's eating, and keep watching that chin for hair loss as well.

Tara Langford
09-03-16, 11:03 pm
I took a closer look at her tonight... she's definitely holding her mouth open a bit and I'm thinking she is probably then drooling and that we might be looking at malocclusion. But of course, I'm not a professional, that'll be for the vet to diagnose.

If it is malocclusion, has anyone had any experience with having this treated and the treatment cost(s) (USD) I might be looking at?

I ask because I just lost my 17 year old cat, who I had had for 15 years. We had to put him to sleep on August 25th, just a week after finding out he had lung cancer. My family spent at least over $2000 just to get a diagnosis and for some emergency care in between...and then for an at-home euthanasia and private cremation. My dad was just about to retire from work, but now is staying at his company until the end of Sept to try and earn enough to make a dent in the vet bills from our cat.

I'm still reeling from that.

And when I mentioned to my mom that one of my guinea pigs (who I have also a post going about in this forum) needed to see a vet because she was having some digestive issues, she told me that I could take her in for a visit to see what was going on, but no special procedures or anything, that she loved this guinea pig, but that we just no longer had the money. And then tonight... realizing there was probably something dental-related going on with another one (I have four)....

I just don't even know what to do.

bpatters
09-03-16, 11:36 pm
Some dental issues can be treated, some can't.

Sometimes a pig will stop chewing hay as much as they need to. Maybe they got a hay poke in the gum, or injured a jaw biting the cage bars, or have an abscess at the tooth root, or for some other reason. Because they're not chewing as much, the molars grow more than normal, and may develop point that puncture the cheek or gum, and even trap the tongue so that the pig can't swallow. For these pigs without the abscess, planing the molars down to the gum line gives them a chance to grow normally again, and if whatever caused the original problem has been resolved, they may not need any more treatment.

Some abscesses can be treated with antibiotics and drained, others can't. It depends on where it is, what caused it originally, what kind of infection it is, etc. In a human, they'd pull the abscessed tooth, but extracting a tooth in a guinea pig is a very risky process. The jaw bone can easily be broken, and then the pig has to be euthanized. Sometimes euthanasia is just the kindest choice for a pig with a bad abscess.

Other pigs just have a bad molar setup, and regular planing is required for them to be able to eat normally. The issue is just overgrown teeth, with nothing more sinister than that, bad as it is on its own.

The worst scenario is elongated roots, where the roots of the teeth grow all the way through the jawbone and cause the pig pain when eating. The only treatment currently available in most places is regular planing of the molars, sometimes every month, sometimes longer. Not all pigs can tolerate the frequent anesthesia required, and the procedures are expensive.

I've just recently learned that in Belgium, there are two vets that are taking a new approach to elongated roots. Once the roots have grown completely through the jaw, they make an incision under the jaw line and drill off the bottom of the roots. It's far less risky than removing molars, but there are a lot of things we don't know about the surgery. One person, who has a pig who's waiting on this surgery, will find out whether or not they remove the whole root of the tooth, like a root canal, or just cut off the tip. As far as I know, the surgery is so new that we don't know the long-term effects on the pig's teeth and jaw -- do the teeth stay firmly planted, or does the root die and the tooth falls out. Experimental stuff, but with a lot of possibilities if all the kinks can be worked out.

You'd have to call and ask what the costs of molar planing are in your area. It varies widely from one part of the country to another, and even within the same city. Many vets will give discounts to customers whose pigs need repeated planings.

The place to start would be with a dental exam with a good exotic vet who has rodent dental experiences. Not all exotic vets, even good ones, have any experience with rodent dentistry. The exam should include top and side skull x-rays as well as a visual exam with the pig briefly anesthetized so they can get an adequate look at the mouth.

Good luck with her, and let us know what you decide.

lunarminx
09-04-16, 09:13 am
I took a closer look at her tonight... she's definitely holding her mouth open a bit and I'm thinking she is probably then drooling and that we might be looking at malocclusion. But of course, I'm not a professional, that'll be for the vet to diagnose.

If it is malocclusion, has anyone had any experience with having this treated and the treatment cost(s) (USD) I might be looking at?

I ask because I just lost my 17 year old cat, who I had had for 15 years. We had to put him to sleep on August 25th, just a week after finding out he had lung cancer. My family spent at least over $2000 just to get a diagnosis and for some emergency care in between...and then for an at-home euthanasia and private cremation. My dad was just about to retire from work, but now is staying at his company until the end of Sept to try and earn enough to make a dent in the vet bills from our cat.

I'm still reeling from that.

And when I mentioned to my mom that one of my guinea pigs (who I have also a post going about in this forum) needed to see a vet because she was having some digestive issues, she told me that I could take her in for a visit to see what was going on, but no special procedures or anything, that she loved this guinea pig, but that we just no longer had the money. And then tonight... realizing there was probably something dental-related going on with another one (I have four)....

I just don't even know what to do.

Who's There had malocclusion, his first surgery was just under $700.00 and it needed to be done again in 3 months. I opted to have him euthanized as he was already over 5 years old. Some will say turn him to a shelter, they may fix him. I disagree, even no kill shelters have to draw a line somewhere. If you have his teeth xrayed and they look fine. Read this post by Pinta http://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewtopic.php?p=190461#190461 and this one, http://www.guinealynx.info/chinsling.html

spy9doc
09-04-16, 11:32 am
Trying to deal with malocclusion can be an expensive and painful process. My Chester needed dental work every 4-6 wks. and I can't begin to count how much we spent on him. We loved him so much that we decided to keep him alive as long as he had breath left in him. Ultimately, the repeat anesthesia took its toll on him.

lunarminx
09-04-16, 11:53 am
I was in your place when Who's there had his problem, I just lost my job and was having major medical issues myself. I wish you the best of luck.

Tara Langford
09-04-16, 07:16 pm
Thanks for all your replies... just hoping for the best. I honestly don't even have words for this situation. I feel like the death of my cat just beat me down into nothing... and now I'm still getting hit, even though I'm clearly down and not able to get back up.

Tara Langford
09-04-16, 07:18 pm
Today I had Kyla out, the one with the dental problems, and her mom, Mattie, who I have another post about going who is having GI issues.. they were fighting over who got to lay down the closest to me and snuggle. They just try to get as close as they can... and it's me they're trying to get close to... and it fills my heart with so much happiness to see that they recognize me as mom and love me. And it also breaks my heart because I love them so, so, so much and just can't even imagine... just can't.

Tara Langford
09-04-16, 07:21 pm
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Some snuggle action :) Something happy for a sad post. Mattie with the bigger one that has not missed any meals with the brown on her, Kyla is the tiny one, who has always been more petite, who usually wins at getting the best spot right up against my side haha. Mattie will usually just settle for my arm then. <3

spy9doc
09-05-16, 08:58 am
They just try to get as close as they can... and it's me they're trying to get close to... and it fills my heart with so much happiness

Isn't it the sweetest feeling? My boys will compete to see who can be closer to me or who has the spot closest to my chin. The dominant one usually wins but is becoming a bit less competitive as they get older. They don't realize that now they are grown, five pounds of a furry neck-warmer is not very comfortable, especially in the summer.